The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review
The latest Elder Scrolls title is Bethesda’s finest work, and the best game of 2011.
The Elder Scrolls series has always been defined by ambition. As one of the strongest pillars of western RPG design, each of the numbered titles share a common commitment to open-world gameplay, allowing players to explore and experience the environment however they see fit. This is videogame "role-playing" in the truest sense, and it's a style that scant few other developers have mastered.
Easily the most widely anticipated game of 2011, the series' fifth main sequence game also has much to live up to from fans. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was a let-down for some, and developer Bethesda Game Studios then took their talent in a different direction with the excellent Fallout 3. So it's been over nine and a half years since the last truly excellent installment in this storied series of games.
Yet here we are, a decade older, and ready to experience The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bethesda has lost none of their ambition. This time we're traveling to the titular northern region of Tamriel, rimmed by grand snow capped mountains and home to the hardy Nord people. The desolation and emptiness that characterized Fallout 3 is nowhere to be found in Skyrim. Despite the frozen wilderness setting, this is a rich, vibrant nation with plenty to see and more to do.
This review is based on over 205 hours of gameplay, including an exhaustive 190-hour playthrough at the default difficulty level, and 15 hours at the most challenging. All impressions are from the Xbox 360 version of the game.
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